Title: The Boy Who Howled
Author: Timothy Power
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Publication Date: October 2010
GoodReads Summary: As far back as Callum can really remember, he's been living in the Wild as the furless mascot of a wolf pack. But when his pack sends him back to live with his own kind--humans--fitting in is quite a challenge. He doesn't remember English very well, so he accidentally says his name is "Clam." He's spent most of his life eating fresh-killed elk, so dining with vegetarians is tricky. And when he tries to impress the Alpha student in the school cafeteria by stealing food, people seem offended!
A mix of wildness and humor, Timothy Power's inventive writing makes him a debut author to watch. And Callum's quest to find his place in a strange world will have readers rooting for him--when they're not howling with laughter.
What I Think: This book had me thinking of Gordon Korman's Capricorn Anderson from Schooled because, like Cap, Callum finds himself thrown into society after years of growing up in a completely different kind of environment. Through some lucky coincidences he actually is able to easily find his way back to and into civilization but he doesn't go unnoticed. I also couldn't stop thinking about Runt by Marion Dane Bauer because that book really helped me understand wolf packs and how wolf hierarchy works. I think kids who are interested in animals and the environment would enjoy this story about a boy who has grown up with wolves.
I can't finish this review without saying that vegans represent in this book! One of the characters, Lila, is vegan. It's doesn't play a large role in the book, but I always get excited to see vegan characters in a book. The message of thinking about our planet and doing something to help the environment is actually more prevalent. Lila being vegan just plays a small part in this message. This book would be good to add to titles that talk about kids doing their part for the environment! Go Earth!
Read Together: Grades 4 - 6
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 7
Read With: Runt by Marion Dane Bauer, Wolves by Seymour Simon and other non-fiction text about wolves, Marty McGuire by Kate Messner
Snatch of Text:
"'Oh, dear,' shouted the older animal in alarm. 'You must have hit your head. Do you know where you are? You are at the train station. This is America.'
Without really thinking about it, Callum opened his mouth and made words of his own.
'Talking you me to?' he asked mumbly, not getting the words in the proper order, which was understandable. He was pretty rusty at it.
'Of course I'm talking to you. Who else would it be?' the strange woman bellowed in reply. For that's what she was, Callum suddenly knew. She wasn't an animals at all, but a woman. And the other animals were people, and he was a person too." p. 30-31
Mentor Text For: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Inferences, Characterization, Making Connections, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something to impress someone and then realized it was not a good decision.
Topics Covered: Family, Wolves, Friendship, Integration - Science - Environment, Altruism